FORT HILL PARK
Peekskill, Westchester County, NY


Directions:

In downtown Peekskill, on Decatur Street between Paulding and Orchard Streets.


Dying Trees (our future):

This is clearly an urban forest because of the surroundings. It is also noticeably urban because it is one of the worst cases of dying trees I have seen in the area. The hemlocks look terrible and many have already fallen and cover much of the hemlock area. In addition, there were many of the gray birches down.


Geology:

Here are two ridges with a valley between them. The ridges are typical oaks, including chestnut oak. Between the two ridges is a Phragmites marsh along with some buttonbushes.


History:

During the Revolution, in 1776 Fort Independence was constructed in Peekskill. It was located at the mouth of the Annsville Creek in Peekskill, just south of Anthony's Nose. (Dunwell 1991:18)

During the time of the capture of Forts Clinton and Montgomery, General Israel Putnam was certain that Sir Henry Clinton was aiming for Fort Independence at Peekskill where he was in charge. Putnam received reinforcements from the Popolopen forts. But it was all just a feint. (Dunwell 1991:21)


Trails:

There are steps up part of the way and then a very rough trail that is not always apparent. Most of the walk is bushwhacking.


PLANT LIST:

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney


Trees:
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharinum (silver maple)?
Ailanthus altissima (tree-of-heaven)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)

Shrubs:
Cephalanthus occidentalis (buttonbush)
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepperbush)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) 11/16/98
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Lonicera sp. (honeysuckle)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry raspberry)
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Vaccinium pallidum (highbush blueberry)

Vines:
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Smilax rotundifolia (round-leaved greenbrier)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis sp. (grape vine)

Herbs:
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Chelidonium majus (celandine)
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Polygonum virginiana (jumpseed knotweed)
Solidago caesia (blue-stemmed goldenrod) 11/16/1998
Solidago spp. (goldenrods)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)

Sedges:
Carex laxiflora type (sedge)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)
Carex stricta (tussock sedge)

Grasses:
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Phragmites australis (giant reed grass)

Fern and Fern Allies:
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)

Other:
Leucobryum albidum (a moss species)